Thursday, March 16, 2006

Siem Reap

While at Kompong Thom I tried the teuk kralohk - like a fruit & vege smoothie - at the local market. Tasty. While out walking I saw 2 Western cyclists go whizzing by - I tried to wave them down but they didn't see me. Later that day, another 5 cyclists appeared briefly in town before heading off in their respective directions. Other than these folk, I've not seen any other cyclists, or in fact other tourists, en route. Presumably they're in the buses that shoot past at unconscionable speeds.

It can be a lonely business at time cycling on one's own. At the same time, the experience of being alone with oneself has quite a stark and interesting edge to it -how one deals with issues that arise, noticing what one's mind gets up to, the various emotional states one goes through & how they come & go ....

Day 3 cycling:
Kompong Thom to Kompong Kdei
Total 90.05km
4:54 hrs ridetime
Average speed: 18.70 km/hr
Maximum: 24.9 km/hr

I set a cracking pace for the first 36km out of K. Thom - no idea why ... perhaps it was having had a decent breakfast (omelette, roll & coffee), a good sleep, ...Also tolerating the heat & humidity a little better.

The old saying "getting hit by a bus" is largely metaphoric in the west; here, on highway 6, it's a real possibility.

I stayed at the Ngoav Peang guest house in K. Kdei. I beat the price down from $4 to $3 USD. Later I discovered it was right next door to an ice making factory which operated all night. Other than this it was quiet until 4.40am when their dog began howling & barking, in the odd, strangulated sounding way they seem to have here. By 5.30, it was all systems go - the ice factory really cranked up, people talking very loudly, motorbikes revving etc. Je-sus!

The Towel Incident:
After arriving, I had a shower & left my small microfibre towel on the bicycle to dry in the sun. I went to grab it an hour so later, to find that it had disappeared. I had a devil of job trying to explain the problem, using mime again. I became a little cross, so did they; no one had a clue what my issue was, although for a while they thought I wanted some soap. Eventually, after pulling out my dictionary, they understood what I meant. It turned up a few hours later - laughs all round!

Day 4 cycling:
Kompong Kdei to Siem Reap
Total 66.83 km
4:08 hrs ridetime
Average speed: 16.40 km/hr
Maximum: 25.8 km/hr

Even though it was a seemingly small ride today of about 60km, it was tough going. Riding conditions - the road, wind, traffic - were all fine, but it was a bit hotter today. I've checked into Jasmine Lodge, which seems pleasant enough. I'll most likely spend a week in Siem Reap ...

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